Latest Posts

Going dirty and feminine with Maisie Cousins

When you see the images that Maisie Cousins creates with flowers, first comes a slight shock and you feel how your cheeks start to blush. Then immediately you are intrigued of the images that are so rude and at the same time so fascinating with raw beauty of flowers. You start to wonder how is it possible that pictures of flowers (that are usually so innocent) seem to be almost x-rated stuff???

But these definitely are. Maisie Cousins is a young artist from London who’s sliding in with her sexy flower photos to the art scene.  In her art she explores themes of power, femininity, nature, technology, the body and indulgence. I’m loving how people are cherishing flowers and plants in a new kinda way. With a rebellious and adventurous mind.

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The Rose (or Peony) Garden

 

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Remember when I promised to show you the outside garden area of the Winter Garden in the last post? Well, here it comes!

The garden in front of the Winter Garden greenhouses is called the Rose Garden, but there’s so much more into it. When I visited this garden a week ago there wasn’t that much of roses blooming but more beautiful perennials. It’s also so nice that they (=the gardeners of Winter Garden) have planted lots of summery seasonal pots full of colourful flowers. So much inspiration here! And the peonies were in full bloom, so amazing!

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The Winter Garden

One of my favourite places in Helsinki has always been the Winter Garden. Founded in 1893 you can almost feel like going back in time when you step into this little glass palace greenhouse. This is a haven of green lush when you visit here during the winter months but it’s as nice in the summertime.

The Winter Garden consists of three wings of greenhouses. There’s a wing for the cacti and succulent plants with walls of orchid, a room for palm and pine trees with water ponds and the third room is kinda seasonal room with lots of seating areas.

There’s also a really nice outside garden just in front of the greenhouses but there’s so much in there that I will make a second post about that. So stay tuned! But now some tropical green lushness!

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I always love a little sneak peek to the backrooms. You get the feeling of “behind-the-scenes” of different places. 

 

Rodarte loves Baby’s-breath

This trend has been coming for a while but now Rodarte with its spring 2018 collection probably made the baby’s-breath a trend-on-spot. With using this delicate and romantic plant (Gypsophila) in a modern way with the latest fashion designs they brushed all the 80’s kinda dust away from it. Because all the florists out there know that baby’s-breath is almost boring as it’s the most wanted filling flower for traditional flower bouquets (see that older lady coming in your flower shop and wanting to stuck the baby’s breath in every of your floral designs…?).

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Photos from herehere and here.

Midsummer in Finland

This weekend marked the ancient celebrations of midsummer in Finland. That means that almost everyone goes to the countryside and to their summer cabins. We also did that because I’m from this idyllic village in southeast Finland, a totally rural area, about 300 people living their.

It’s the perfect place to go and have a mindfulness retreat. You wake up to the sounds of bird singing and wind blowing. You can take a long walk in the forests or amaze how the fields grow. Listen to the sounds of buzzing bumble bees that are totally excited about the massive amounts of flowers in the garden. Then make food with fire and have a sauna with Finnish vihta (bath whisk) made of birch. I love it!

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Making the traditional Finnish bathing whisk called vihta or vasta. 

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Midsummer night in the countryside.

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Forest tripping.

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Whipped cream in trees

Blooming apple trees have always somehow reminded me of really creamy cakes. There’s something super-romantic and sweet about those. These pics are from few weeks back when I took a slow Sunday walk in my neighbourhood. Loving all these fresh colours!

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Really liking the colour-blocking kinda thing going on with these trimmed shrubs.

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Cherry on full bloom!

Rhododendron explosion

Prepare yourself for this colour therapy post: because something strange has happened here in Helsinki, Finland!

The spring was so cold and came late and it seems like the whole nature is now rushing to start the growing and blooming season. And so has happened in Helsinki’s Rhododendron Garden where rhododendrons and azaleas are NOW blooming at the same time! That is so rare! Normally the azaleas bloom earlier and then in the first weeks of June starts rhododendrons.

As a birthday present for myself we made a biking trip to this amazing park to see these beauties. We were so amazed by how colourful and vast the whole place was. It was like a magical jungle of flowers! And the fragrance of those flowers was so unique! If you want to see this go there now (Laajasuontie in Etelä-Haaga; Huopalahti station if you go by train)! I think the plants will bloom just a few days more.

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Hidden Japanese Garden

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Remember when I posted about this garden center I visited while it was still winter in here Finland? Back then I was blown away but also a bit disappointed because I was told that there was a Japanese garden also but it was closed during the winter months.

So when my siblings texted me few weeks ago insisting that we have to go to that garden center again, of course I said YES!  And so we went to Viherpaja again and I was so excited to see this Japanese garden there, hidden inside a greenhouse.

It blew me away completely! I was expecting a few bonsai trees, lanterns, some plants that are typically Japanese like different maples (Acer sp.), something very simple and not that Japanese.

But when I entered through this humble looking greenhouse door, it was magical! Just like entering another world, a leap to Japan. There was a pond, a stream, big maples and evergreens, a teahouse, lanterns, bonsai, everything that you would see in a typical Japanese garden if you enter a backyard in Kyoto. It was like a peaceful, hidden temple.

Again my huge dream of having my own garden – where I could make a Japanese corner of my own –  was inspired hugely here. Tending Taxus, Acer and Prunus with precise cuts and having a place that calms you down.

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Rhododendron “Suomi 100”

 

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One of my favorite plant loves is definitely a Rhododendron. Those shiny and thick beautiful leaves that stay green in the winter also (very nice here in Finland when it’s so grey in the winter) and, of course, that amazing shine of colours when it’s their time to bloom. They are also very usual in Japan’s nature and gardens (my country love if you still haven’t figured it out).

I’m eagerly waiting for my own garden to happen in a nearby future and I definitely want it to be, at least partly, a very shadowy, forest-like garden. Just because Rhododendrons love shadow (and I actually prefer all the shadow plants).  I’ve already decided that one of the first plants that my garden will get is a Rhododendron. Now I’m glad that I still have a few years until my own garden dream will come true, because there’s a new Rhododendron species in that house! Meaning there’s one new species for me to choose from.

The new one has been developed here in Finland and actually, quite near where I’m originally from, in Mustila Arboretum by Peter M. A. Tigerstedt. The new rhododendron has a light yellow flowers, apparently a very difficult colour to achieve with the feature of the plant being cold-resistant and staying alive here in Finland. It grows about 1,5 – 2 meters high. Tigerstedt (who has developed our favorite and the most-sold rhododendrons here in Finland) has refined this species for almost twenty years!!!

This is a special year here in Finland, because this year we have been our own independent country for 100 years! That’s why this new rhododendron got a name “Suomi 100” (Suomi = Finland) to honor our independency.

After years of working in the garden centers I have to admit that I know a bit about rhododendrons and what species work here in Finland. It’s difficult. Our climate is not the best for most of the plants that the most garden-enthusiastic people want to grow. And in rhododendrons you can definitely see that the colours that people want do not match the climate that we have. I know that there’s some yellow rhododendrons around the world, with much more vibrant colour, but I think it’s always very interesting to see what can be developed. I’m excited with this new one!

And I recommend to visit the Mustila Arboretum if you ever have a change. Go there when the rhododendrons are blooming in the beginning of June! There’s so many of them. There’s also a nice garden center where you can buy those rare individuals that has been studied and cared with love just around the corner.

 

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Do it like Japanese do

Japan, oh how I miss you! I love to go through the photos we took from our trip to Japan in November 2015. They calm and amaze me every time. And there’s always something new to spot and get inspired. And I know I’ve already done a lot of Japan-related posts here but there’s still more to share.

In this post I’ll be focusing on the gardening techniques of Japanese. Because they are genious! And they use natural materials and ways to care gardens. That is something I really appreciate and I think everyone should. Someday, when I have my own garden to tend to, I will definitely use all of these techniques.

PEST CONTROLLING (Komo-Maki)

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The first time we entered a Japanese garden in Tokyo we noticed these weird straw mats wrapped around trees. It seemed totally odd until we saw this little sign that explained it all: Komo Maki.

So how does it works? Well, first of all, remember it was November when we visited Japan and these gardens. The weather was turning cold and that’s when harmful insects at the branches of the tree start to go down to the warmer ground for winter. When you place the straw mat wrapped around the tree trunk, it’s a perfect natural way to catch these insects. The trick is that you two ropes around the mat: tie the upper one loosely and the lower one tightly. When the insects start to crawl down, the straw mat seems a warm place them to stay and the tight rope unable them to go further down. After winter, when the weather starts to warm again, you detach the mat and burn it with the insects. It doesn’t get any more natural.

 

TREE BONDAGING (Yukitsuri)

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This was so cool! And so weird for us novice Westerners to see. Again, this is something you only see in Japan in the winter months. Because the purpose of the tree bondaging is to prevent the beautifully cut and old tree branches to break under the weight of snow. Yukitsuri literally means “snow suspension”. And we were so lucky to see how the skilled workmen put the straw ropes up and tie the tree with them.

 

TREE SUPPORTING

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This was again a state of art kind of technique. Japanese love to cut the plants and maneuver the growth of the plants with different support systems. But why not if the result is always so beautiful. The craftsmanship in the different support structures is amazing! And because they always (and I mean always: you will never see plastic supporting structures anywhere) use natural materials, they blend nicely with the plants.

 

CUTTING

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This is so Japanese and you see this everywhere! So unnatural in the world of plants but so natural in Japan.

NATURAL FENCES

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I loved the fences in Japan! Just look how beautiful and organic they look! Everything was made with natural materials (do not dare to use plastic!). So many different ways and looks. Fence heaven!

 

WATER ELEMENTS

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In Japanese garden, there’s always a water element somewhere. Usually it’s in a darker corner, a bit hidden place. The sound of dripping water makes you so calm and relaxed. And it doesn’t have to be a big element. A tiny pool of water with a bamboo tube will do.

 

GUIDING WATER/DRAINAGE

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These were definitely one of my favorite findings if we’re talking about techniques and ways to design your garden. Normally the most boring things, like drainage covers or downspouts, are so beautiful in Japan. The way they guide the rainfall down to the ground from the rooftops with bell-like little bucket “ropes” is amazing! And who would ever want to look a metal storm drain anymore when you can make a bamboo cover for it??? Not me.

 

PATH MAKING

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Well, at this point, what can I say. Of course the paths in Japan are gorgeous and different. Of course.